On April 20, 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that its Zero Tolerance Policy for rowdy passengers would be made permanent.
After seeing an uptick in rowdy passenger incidents in airports and on flights, the FAA introduced the policy on January 13, 2021. Instead of warning letters or counseling, the FAA now levies fines on passengers for disorderly behavior.
The number of incidents surpassed 5,000 in November 2021. It was enough for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to order US prosecutors to focus their efforts on prosecuting airline passengers who had committed federal crimes while onboard planes.
The Zero Tolerance policy, paired with the FAA’s public awareness campaign, has helped cut the incident rate by more than 60%, according to the FAA. To assist reduce the number of occurrences, the FAA said it will continue to cooperate with its airline, labor, airport, security, and law enforcement partners.
Our Zero Tolerance policy against unruly passengers is now permanent. Behaving dangerously on a plane will cost you; that’s a promise. The policy, combined with our public awareness campaign, has helped reduce the incident rate more than 60%. https://t.co/D2eVQJO3zr #travel pic.twitter.com/pLh5pWFa73
— FAA Billy Nolen (@FAA_Billy) April 20, 2022
“Behaving dangerously on a plane will cost you; that’s a promise,” Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement.
“Unsafe behavior simply does not fly and keeping our Zero Tolerance policy will help us continue making progress to prevent and punish this behavior.”
Mask-wearing on board aircraft has been one of the major causes of disorderly behavior in the past year. The mask mandate on public transportation, however, was struck down by a federal judge this week.